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RFS 0-2 Hearts: Scottish side get first Europa Conference League win

Lawrence Shankland scores from the spot for Hearts
Lawrence Shankland’s penalty put Hearts in entrance earlier than the break

Hearts gained an entertaining contest with RFS of Latvia as they kickstarted their Europa Convention League marketing campaign.

Lawrence Shankland’s first-half penalty put them forward earlier than the break, and Alan Forrest’s strike in stoppage time sealed victory.

Hearts had goalkeeper Craig Gordon to thank at factors, particularly for tipping one effort on to the woodwork.

Additionally they handed up good probabilities so as to add to their tally – together with Shankland lacking an empty web.

In the long run it did not matter as Hearts moved second in Group A behind Istanbul Basaksehir – who defeated Fiorentina 3-0 – as Robbie Neilson’s aspect ready to face the Serie A membership residence and away subsequent.

The win in Riga retains some hope of development alive for injury-hit Hearts, who had been handed a sixth defeat in seven video games by Basaksehir final week when the Turkish aspect left Edinburgh with a 4-0 win.

On condition that show, this was a must-win recreation for Neilson and his squad and at numerous levels of the primary half they seemed rattled, particularly when centre-back Craig Halkett limped off 20 minutes into his return from harm.

RFS – final season’s champions of Latvia who earned a shock attract Florence of their opening match – hit the woodwork after two minutes when Gordon was at his acrobatic finest to tip Emerson’s shot onto the woodwork.

And the Hearts keeper pulled off one other two stops in fast succession to maintain his aspect in entrance simply earlier than half-time.

However Hearts had been equally as harmful in spells earlier than the break, and had the higher of the second-half with out exerting complete management all through.

By that time Shankland had emphatically stroked his penalty into the highest nook after Elvis Stuglis blocked Andy Halliday’s cross together with his arm, and missed an open purpose on the stretch when Josh Ginnelly barely overhit his move throughout the six-yard field.

Nonetheless, Hearts did greater than sufficient to earn a troublesome victory, their first in European group stage soccer for 18 years, and made positive of it when Cammy Devlin broke free on the finish earlier than teeing up Forrest to fit residence.

Participant of the match – Andy Halliday

Andy Halliday
Halliday was relentless in breaking apart play, whereas additionally stepping into the RFS field. An all-round midfield efficiency

Hearts get reward for attacking intent – evaluation

Neilson switched to a again 4 for this match, and signaled his intent to make use of Barrie McKay and Josh Ginnelly to trigger issues with their direct dribbling.

It was the precise method in opposition to an inferior workforce, albeit one with a latest historical past of shocks. It paid off, too, with McKay’s unimaginable contact and driving run instrumental within the lead as much as the penalty, whereas Ginnelly was vigorous.

Halliday was additionally prepared to drive ahead from midfield and had a number of alternatives to attain.

The dedication to pour extra our bodies ahead clearly got here with danger, however Hearts nonetheless conceded extra probabilities than they’d have appreciated, with Gordon rescuing them on a few events.

One gamble which didn’t come off was the choice to play Halkett, whose hamstring did not maintain up for even half an hour.

His absence has been harshly felt amid an extended harm checklist, and some extra weeks out may do extra injury to the workforce in the long term.

Total, although, Hearts appeared to swell in confidence because the match progressed and with a struggling Fiorentina to go to Tynecastle subsequent, the dream of qualifying for the final 16 stays alive.

What’s subsequent?

Hearts are away to Motherwell within the Scottish Premiership on Sunday (15:00 BST) earlier than membership soccer halts for the worldwide break.


Rigas Futbola Skola

Formation 3-4-3

  • 12Steinbors
  • 92JagodinskisBooked at 42mins
  • 21Stuglis
  • 43Lipuscek
  • 66VlalukinSubstituted forSorokinsand 58′minutes
  • 28VirginBooked at 80mins
  • 24Saric
  • 25MaresBooked at 52mins
  • 81SimkovicBooked at 45minsSubstituted forFriesenbichlerand 59′minutes
  • 19Ilic
  • 9Santana Deocleciano


  • 1Cerniauskas
  • 2Sorokins
  • 4Maksimenko
  • 10Rachel
  • 13Nerugals
  • 14Varslavans
  • 30Friesenbichler
  • 77Dubra
  • 99Zaleiko


Formation 4-3-3

  • 1GordonBooked at 74mins
  • 2Smith
  • 4HalkettSubstituted forNeilsonand 22′minutes
  • 3Kingsley
  • 19CochraneBooked at 8mins
  • 7GrantSubstituted forHerringand 70′minutesBooked at 83mins
  • 14Devlin
  • 16Halliday
  • 30GinnellyBooked at 79minsSubstituted forHumphrysand 79′minutes
  • 9ShanklandBooked at 45minsSubstituted forForrestand 79′minutes
  • 18McKay


  • 5Herring
  • 11Mackay-Steven
  • 12Atkinson
  • 13Stewart
  • 17Forrest
  • 20Neilson
  • 21Sibbick
  • 22Henderson
  • 27Smith
  • 28Clark
  • 29Humphrys
  • 39Pollock

Alexander Stavrev

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